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What are the draft implications of the New York Jets game against the New England Patriots?

Draft position is on the line in an otherwise meaningless Jets season finale

NFL: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets currently hold the 8th overall pick following last Sunday’s slate of games. However, the team can pick anywhere between pick 5 and 12 based on the results of the upcoming week’s games. So what games will determine where they land in the end?

If the Jets win

The New York Jets are the only team with 6 wins heading into Week 18. This means with a win the absolute highest they can pick following a win is their current pick at 8.

While the Jets are the only team with 6 wins, there are 4 teams with 7 wins that the Jets would be tied with if the Jets were to win and those 4 teams were to lose. Those teams are the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Las Vegas Raiders, and Minnesota Vikings.

The tiebreaker for draft positioning is strength of schedule. The Jets strength of schedule is .507, which is identical to that of the Minnesota Vikings but significantly more than the sub .489 strength of schedule currently held by the other three teams. This means the Jets could potentially pick before the Vikings in the event that the two teams are tied at season’s end but that the Jets would pick after any of the other three teams if they were to end the season tied with them. Essentially this means that the Jets winning would drop them one draft spot for each of the current 7-win teams that lose, with the potential exception of the Vikings who could still pick after the Jets.

So, for those rooting for the Jets to win and for them to maintain the 8th pick, the rooting strategy outside of the Jets game is as follows:

  • The Falcons, Bears, and Raiders must win.
  • The Vikings winning would be ideal, but the Jets could potentially pass them if the strength of schedule tiebreaker favors the Jets after the results of this week’s slate of games. If any of the four teams that have 7 wins were to win then the Vikings winning would be most beneficial.

If the Jets lose

The New York Jets are the only team with 6 wins heading into Week 18. This means with a loss the absolute lowest they can pick following a win is their current pick at 8.

Below the Jets are three teams tied with 5 wins. Those teams are the New York Giants, Los Angeles Chargers, and Tennessee Titans. If those teams win and the Jets lose then the draft order among teams with 6 wins would be determined by strength of schedule. Once again, the Jets’ strength of schedule is .507. The Chargers and Titans both have strength of schedules of .526+, so the Jets would pick before either of those teams if either team ended the season tied with the Jets at 6 wins. The Giants currently have a strength of schedule of .511, so if the two teams tied at 6 wins then the Jets would likely jump them as well. Essentially this means if the Jets lose then they would move up 1 pick for each of the 5 win teams that win.

So, if the Jets lose, to maximize their draft positioning the rooting strategy is as follows:

  • The Giants, Chargers, and Titans must win